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Is there any wonder Hi-Fi is on the decline? The dealers always set them up wrong!

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  • Is there any wonder Hi-Fi is on the decline? The dealers always set them up wrong!

    One thing (among the many many things) that really nagged me about Hi-Fi is that the dealers don't even set up their speakers properly for a demo!

    No, I'm not talking about setting them up perfectly to the nth degree. I'm talking about basic setup. Did anyone even bother to listen to the speakers at the sweet spot and notice there is no center image, no bass, and it just flat out doesn't sound good?

    My experience today takes the cake: I auditioned the $80,000 Bang and Olufsen Beolab 90, and they had both speakers playing the left channel! I'm at a loss of words.

    For such an expensive and innovative speaker, I expect an engineer to personally set it up and tune it to perfection so it'll blow away even the most discerning audiophile with the sound quality and their hallmark directivity control feature. Instead, what I heard was a speaker that couldn't produce a nice center image, even in the "narrow" (single sweet spot) mode. I'm gonna give the benefit of the doubt that the calibration is wrong. After all, if they can screw up something as basic as playing mono, I wouldn't be surprised if it was calibrated incorrectly. There's no way these speakers can't image. It should be their strong suit.

    On the bright side, the bass was astoundingly good, far better than any floorstanding speaker I've ever heard. Extremely tight, powerful, and deep. This is what I was expecting to hear, audio quality far better than anything I've ever heard, but in every aspect of speaker performance.

    Then I went to another store, and I first listened to a pair of $5,000 Revel Performa F208 that the store just carried. The same thing happened. They had these in a separate listening room for high end equipments, yet they clearly never bothered to listen to it. Despite the massive size with two 8'' woofers, there was no bass below 80Hz. It sounded like a cheap Bluetooth speaker in the bass department. I could not believe how bad it sounded, because Revel is a very well respected brand. It wasn't because the Beolab 90 setting the bar too high, because I heard the Totem Hawk (which uses the 5'' Revelator woofer) right after in another room, and I was treated with some amazing Revelator bass.

    How can dealers expect people to buy their speakers when they can't even set it up so that they don't sound bad? Ever wonder why Bose sells? Go listen to a demo in their dedicated demo room and tell me you're not blown away. There are rare experiences where I hear something crazy good and better than anything I've ever heard, and it gets etched in my memory. Bose managed to do that with their ****** sounding 2.5'' full range satellites during a demo.

    If you can't pull off an incredible demo that puts the speaker in the best possible light, at least set them up so they don't sound bad!

  • #2
    You ought to send your thoughts to B&O and to Revel and mention the dealers where you experienced that fiasco.
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    • #3
      You ought to send your thoughts to B&O and to Revel and mention the dealers where you experienced that fiasco.
      Seriously. Not too many people these days that take pride in what they do anymore; they seem to think a store front and some merchandise equals money. Look at BB and their stereo "displays"... pathetic.

      On the other hand... that's a fun day . All the local stereo shops probably rolled their eyes whenever they saw me walk in as a teenager, I used to love wandering into those places and drool over the equipment. I might need to run around Grand Rapids this Sunday and see what we have here now, I know a couple new ones have sprouted up recently, and Audio Advisor is in Grand Rapids but I don't think they have a showroom (online sales).
      "The ability of any system to produce exceptional sound will be limited mainly by the capability of the speakers" Jim Salk
      "Audio is surely a journey full of revelations as you go" JasonP

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      • #4
        I'd like to know which dealer in which city. I have to agree too. I've been to too many stores that just plain sound bad. Luckily, here in Chicago most of those have been long gone. The few that are left are pretty decent. Mark

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        • #5
          I thought the audio store was dead. All the ones I used to go closed many moons ago. I know major cities still have a few. Indianapolis has Ovation and a few others. I've never been to Music Direct, but I order music from them sometimes. I miss going to them as well, but let's be realistic. Excluding the very high end stores in the right location, most consumers aren't going to pay extra to cover a store,staff and all expenses over Internet prices. I was in Toledo once and walked into a audio store that had speaker cables that cost thousands. I walked right out. Don't remember the name. Now days, people use stores to demo and then go look for the best price. As much as I would love to go to a audio store and demo all kinds a gear. I don't even have one remotely close to me.

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          • #6
            Don't rule out the possibility that some of this is deliberate, to steer customers to something with more profit for the store. The old Bait and Switch.
            I ran into this in one store. They advertised Dahlquist DQ10's for about half price, and I went to see them. They didn't sound right, and I wound up buying a different brand. But, looking through the grill on the rear of the speakers, I could see that the tweeter leads were disconnected!

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            • #7
              I remember auditioning a pair of speakers that were clearly wired out of phase, this was at a "higher" end local store. When I brought it to the salesman's attention, he scoffed and insinuated I didn't know what I was talking about. This resulted in me giving him a lesson in the basics of electronics and how to quickly tell if a pair of speakers are in or out of phase.

              We then moved on to another set, where he spent a good 10 minutes telling me how great they are...listen to the tonal balance...listen to how well they image...listen to this...listen to that... it was at that time I decided to leave, and mentioned he should look into why the tweeter in the right speaker wasn't working ;/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by generic View Post
                ...Now days, people use stores to demo and then go look for the best price...
                Bingo! I must confess that I do this, but I also like to be able to compare DIY designs to high dollar commercial offerings. Fortunately we have an Audio Advice store in Charlotte, so we don't have to settle for BB Magnolia rooms only.
                HAGD,
                Marc

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Psycoacoustics View Post
                  I'd like to know which dealer in which city. I have to agree too. I've been to too many stores that just plain sound bad. Luckily, here in Chicago most of those have been long gone. The few that are left are pretty decent. Mark
                  This is in Toronto at the B&O experience store and Bay Bloor Radio. Bay Bloor Radio is hit and miss with the demos, but they're generally very friendly to deal with, unlike many dealers I've been to.

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